DOJ Civil Division Acting AAG Details Civil Cyber-Fraud Initiative – Government, Public Sector – United States – Mondaq News Alerts

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United States:

DOJ Civil Division Acting AAG Details Civil Cyber-Fraud Initiative

19 October 2021

Cadwalader, Wickersham & Taft LLP

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DOJ Acting Assistant Attorney General Brian Boynton detailed the Department's new Civil Cyber-Fraud Initiative. The Initiative
"will use the False Claims Act to identify, pursue and
deter cyber vulnerabilities and incidents that arise with
government contracts and grants and that put sensitive information
and critical government systems at risk."

He explained that "the False Claims Act is the
government's primary tool for addressing the knowing misuse of
taxpayer funds. The Act prohibits knowingly submitting or causing
the submission of false claims to the government. And it permits
the government to recover three times its losses, plus a penalty
for each false claim."

At the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency Fourth
Annual National Cybersecurity Summit, Mr. Boynton identified
"prime candidates" under this initiative which
include:

  • the knowing failure to comply with contractually mandated
    cybersecurity standards (g., if a contractor does not take
    specific contractually required measures to protect government
    data);
  • the knowing misrepresentation of security controls and
    practices (g., misrepresenting how a company monitors its
    systems for breaches, or misrepresenting password requirements);
    and
  • the knowing failure to timely report cyber incidents.

Mr. Boynton anticipates that whistleblowers will play a
"significant role" in this initiative, as the
whistleblower (or "qui tam") provisions under
the False Claims Act will be applied to private parties who report
failures and misconduct in the cyber arena.

Primary Sources

  1. DOJ Speech, Brian M. Boynton: Remarks at the
    Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) Fourth
    Annual National Cybersecurity Summit
  2. DOJ Press Release: Deputy Attorney General Lisa O.
    Monaco Announces New Civil Cyber-Fraud Initiative

The content of this article is intended to provide a general
guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought
about your specific circumstances.

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